Tour offers 4 unique homes

Four beautiful homes, each inspired by a different theme, will be featured in this year’s
La Cañada Spring Home Tour May 6. The home tour is presented each year by La Cañada High School’s 7/8 PTA and has become a community tradition. When this year’s tour comes around on May 6, the event will celebrate its 25th birthday.

Caren Colburn, this year’s LCHS 7/8 PTA president, said it’s not surprising the fundraiser has existed this long in La Cañada.

“It’s one of those feel-good events that goes to the heart of what being a La Cañada resident is all about,” said Colburn, adding that a fair number of residents from outside of La Cañada attend the home tour every year. “It’s sophisticated yet quaint, and I think it shows we may be this small community people don’t know much about, but we really know how to put on a good event.”

“La Cañada has such beautiful homes and this is the event that opens up some of them. Surrounding neighbors can come and get a view of some of the beautiful homes we have here in town,” said Kathy Seuylemezian, the Home Tour chair.

All the funds raised during the event will directly benefit next year’s seventh- and eighth-graders at La Cañada High, Colburn said. “We have no overhead. Every dollar we raise goes to our kids and it’s a pretty gratifying feeling.”

Those who take the full four-home Spring Tour this year will feel as if they’re visiting several corners of the country while only traveling a few miles.

This year’s luncheon, catered by the Spot Gourmet, and a shopping boutique will be hosted at a Hamptons-inspired residence completed in 2006.

This inviting home presents coastal cottage charm on a grand scale. The estate, built on a flat acre, features mountain views and lavish English gardens. The home also has a putting green, a batting cage and a resort-style pool.

There’s plenty to admire inside, as well. The vintage walnut floors, coupled with the use of natural stone and classic woodwork, create the feeling of a timeless home from long ago. A cook’s kitchen fitted with an oversized pantry, a brick-lined wine cellar, a theater and multi-purpose game room, a music studio and a master bedroom with full-bath suites for both spouses and even a secret exit to the downstairs make this a perfect getaway home.

A Spanish colonial revival home, completed in 1926 by architect Ray Kieffer, will be on display this year. The house is one of five Flintridge-area homes designed by Kieffer. It carried an $80,000 price tag to build at a time when the average home cost $5,000 to build.

The home’s location is one of its greatest features, as it’s accessed by a bridge over a creek bed and sits on a knoll surrounded by California oak trees. The grounds contain two natural streams and the homeowners have maintained the estate’s many original, unique features, including custom wrought-iron lighting, leaded-glass windows, handmade tile and painted, coffered ceilings.

“The fact that much of [the house] was original was what we were always looking for,” said the home’s owner, Vicki Schwartz. “The house has a very rich history.”

Having your home chosen for the tour can stir up a mixture of nerves and pride, Schwartz said.

“We are very private people, but we really felt it was a way to support the schools, the teachers and PTA,” said Schwartz of opening her family’s doors to the tour. “It’s really the only fundraiser the junior high has, so for us, it was a way to give back. I wouldn’t have done it for anything but the schools.”

The next stop on the tour is a relaxing Cape Cod estate. The interior of the home, designed by the homeowners, is adorned with seashells and other ocean treasures from Southern California beaches. Calming colors of cool turquoise and lime green with bursts of sunny orange form a neutral palette splashed on the walls. The backyard feels like a weekend getaway spot, with salt-water pool, Jacuzzi, fire pit and cabana.

Visitors to the final residence on the tour, a mid-century ranch home, will be greeted by a gorgeous, imaginatively-designed front garden. The rest of the home, designed by the owners, features rear exterior walls decorated with an Antonio Gaudi-themed mosaic and a backyard equipped with a pool, two cabanas, a deck and large double-sided flagstone fireplace. Inside, guests are welcome by pieces of art and sculptures from all over the world, including antique Persian rugs and exquisite chandeliers.

Schwartz said the Spring Home Tour is unique from the other annual La Cañada fundraisers because it’s so intimate.

“This one is very personal because the families are opening up their homes to the community,” she said. “It just feels very personal because you’re opening up your lives.”

The La Cañada High music program will also provide a relaxing soundtrack during the tour for the first time this year.

The monetary goal for the fundraiser is to be on par with the amount raised last year, which was about $60,000, said Seuylemezian. Tickets sales are trending on target, she said.

Tour sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again from 4 to 8 p.m. on May 6. Advance tickets for the Spring Home Tour are $40 each and $45 on the day of the tour at the Home Tour’s Descanso Gardens headquarters, which open during the morning tour session, again in the afternoon and close at approximately 7 p.m.

For more information, visit the event’s website To purchase advance tickets, contact Al Brooks Tickets ( at (818) 790-0419. Tickets may also be purchased at the Apple Cart (1518 Foothill Blvd.) and the Flintridge Bookstore & Coffee House (1010 Foothill Blvd.) Visitors are encouraged to meet at Descanso Gardens and carpool to the tour homes, as on-site parking will be limited.

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